Trade Analysis: Orlando Magic Trades With Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns; Arena, Carter, Mortat, Turkoglu, Lewis and Richardson Have New Homes
Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith had himself a busy day today, closing two deals to give some major facelifts to the Magic, the Phoenix Suns and the Washington Bullets Wizards.
Deal #1: A swap of PF/SF and monster contract recipient Rashard Lewis for scoring point guard and monster contract recipient Gilbert Arenas.
Deal #2: Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a 2011 first round pick and some cash money for Hedo “Please Come Home, All is Forgiven” Turkoglu, Jason Richardson and Earl Clark.
Four players isn’t exactly a light day’s work and this certainly changes the look of the Magic and Suns. Let’s take a look at how this effects likely rotations.
Washington Bullets Wizards
Let’s just be honest, here. Gilbert Arenas needed a change of scenery and Washington management needed to get him out of town. He’s coming off nasty knee surgery and he’s overpaid for his current production. On top of that they’ve got a rookie clone of him with greater upside in John Wall that was going to limit how many minutes Arenas would be getting in his most effective position. Just getting rid of that contract is minor victory.
Figure the prime beneficiary of Arenas leaving should be shooting guard Nick Young forming a three-guard rotation with PG Walls and swingman Kurt Hinrich (who will most likely be staying away from spot duty at small forward).
The question of what position Lewis plays is an interesting one. Odds are he’s fighting Al Thornton for minutes at small forward, and getting a few minutes at power forward as Andray Blatche and Yi Jianlian work through some injuries. You have a serious question of developing the younger player vs. playing a veteran who may be on the downside with Lewis. As noted all over the place, Lewis is having his worst year in quite a while. On the other hand, he’s still shooting .367 from beyond the arc, so he’s still serviceable a floor spacer and Washington could use another veteran.
We’ll have to see how this one works out, but Lewis has a shorter contract than Arenas, so there’s some possible fiscal savings on top of what was a fairly politically motivated trade.
OK. I’m just going to come out and say it. You knew if Phoenix was making the trade, they were going to be getting some cash. They’re living up to reputation, there. On the other hand, this is an interesting trade from the Phoenix perspective. You swap out scorers with Vince Carter for Jason Richardson. Yes, Richardson is more aggressive, younger and having a better year… but we need to see firsthand what Carter is like with Nash feeding him. Carter can still score and shoot the 3 a little. If Carter was having fun, who knows how he’d start scoring? Pietrus for Turkoglu is a major, major defensive upgrade and Pietrus is a fine 3-point specialist. Really, with Steve Nash at the point, you don’t put as much of a premium on Turkoglu creating offense at the small forward position.
The real upgrade, however is adding Gortat as the center. You’ll recall the last time Gortat’s contract was up, there was a bit of a bidding war over him and Orlando threw down some serious cash to keep him. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t think he’s ready to be a starter and he’ll help with Phoenix’s rebounding and defensive woes. How does adding Gortat effect the 4/5 rotation? My suspicion is that Channing Frye will slide to power forward, Robin Lopez will be the back-up center and Earl Barron drops out of the rotation.
This should be more of a defensive look for Phoenix and we’ll just have to see what Nash does with his new weapons. I’d expect Carter’s scoring to go up a bit and we’ll just have to see how Gortat responds. Adding Gortat’s defense and perhaps Carter’s defense as an upgrade over Richardson, would offset any scoring drop-out from Richardson’s departure. At least in theory.
For now, I’d call this swap more different than good or bad, but with some upside. Plus Carter’s contract is only partially guaranteed for next year so if a certain owner needed to shave some salary, he’d have some options there. Wait and see. (And if this doesn’t work out, the rest of the league will be waiting for Nash’s reaction.)
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